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HIST422: Palaeography: using medieval & early modern sources

Image of cartularyAvailable 2014/15

Course Convenor: Professor Angus Winchester

This module, designed for students undertaking medieval or early-modern research, introduces the principles of palaeography and provides an opportunity to gain experience of how to read medieval and early-modern hands. It also aims to help you to think about manuscript sources, their production and reproduction and the relationship between manuscript and printed versions of primary texts. The module introduces selected classes of medieval and early-modern archive sources. Each seminar will include both substantive discussion of a topic or genre of source and a workshop element to give you palaeography practice. Regular palaeography ‘homework’ will be set and students are expected to undertake palaeography practice between class meetings.

Taught: Lent Term

Assessment: a) a short palaeography exercise. You are required to pass this test but it will not count towards the final assessment for the module; b) a 5,000-word project on a chosen source type or example (100%).


Introductory Reading:

  • The National Archives
  • L. C. Hector, The Handwriting of English Documents (Dorking: Kohler and Coombes, 1988)
  • H. Marshall, Palaeography for Family and Local Historians (Phillimore, 2004)
  • P. D. A. Harvey, Editing Historical Records (London: British Library, 2001)

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